State Reps. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) sent a letter to Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday calling on him to impose a moratorium on executions in Ohio to further review the new execution drug combination policy and provide a thorough report of last Thursday’s execution. This comes after last week’s controversial execution, in which the State used an untested two-drug lethal injection method. The family of inmate Dennis McGuire plans to file federal lawsuit against the state, citing the U.S. constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Reps. Antonio and Ramos will present sponsor testimony today in House Judiciary Committee on their bipartisan legislation, House Bill 385, to abolish the death penalty and replace it with life in prison without parole.
A copy of the letter can be seen below:
January 22, 2014
The Honorable John R. Kasich
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Dear Governor Kasich:
We write today to express great concern about the recent execution of a death row inmate and in anticipation of the five executions scheduled this year. The controversial, experimental drug combination administered had troublesome consequences and seemingly conflicted with U.S. Constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
The nation, indeed the world, watched as the State of Ohio used the first ever administration of a two drug lethal injection. As you know, the inmate was exposed to a combination of the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone. It took the inmate over 20 minutes to die, during which he seemingly suffered from air hunger. This occurrence certainly raises serious constitutional questions, and it is our hope that other states, as well as Ohio, take great pause from the outcome of Thursday’s execution.
Along with this instance, there is growing support from national and state leaders, organizations and Ohio citizens in ending the death penalty altogether due to the shortage of the one-drug supply, pentobarbital, as well as the ethical, moral, and economic implications of administering the death penalty.
With that in mind, we write to request a moratorium on executions until there is further review of the drug combination policy and a thorough report of Thursday’s execution is available. We applaud your leadership in commuting four death row inmates to life without parole. But we implore you to use your executive power to grant a full moratorium until we can ensure that humane and constitutional policies are in place.
Thank you for your consideration of this request. We look forward to your prompt response.
Nickie J. Antonio
House District 13
House District 56